>> welcome to the "journal" on dw. >> coming up in this half-hour -- >> the defense minister defects as rebels say they are making gains in some parts of syria. >> ceremonies being held in several asian countries to remember the victims of the deadly 2004 tsunami. >> we took a look at a mexican priest who set up a shelter for migrants seeking their fortune in the united states.
>> fresh attempts are being made to find a diplomatic solution to end the syrian conflict. the syrian foreign minister has reportedly flown to moscow to discuss these proposals by the united nations envoy. children, have been killed byayt government shelling in the north of the country, and in a setback for the government, the country's military police chief has defected. then he says he felt the army was no longer acting in the interests of the syrian people. >> the officer in this video identifies himself as the head of the military police. he says the syrian army is not protecting a country. instead, it is destroying cities and committing massacres against unarmed civilians. his defection is another blow to the regime, which is trying to contain rebel advances.
the opposition is again reporting successes. this unverified internet video is said to show bubbles seizing a town on the turkish border. -- rebels seizing a town on the turkish border. the fighting continues, but in damascus, u.n. special envoy lakhdar brahimi continues his pursuit for peace. >> we have reason to hope that the meetings will have a positive outcome. we do hope so. >> for now, syrians can only hope for peace. opposition activists say the conflict has now killed more than 45,000 people, most of them civilians. as 2012 draws to a close, no end to the violence in sight. >> in afghanistan, a suicide bomber has killed at least three
people at a u.s. military base. >> the man blew up a car packed with explosives. police say at least six others were injured. the taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just days after a shooting inside police headquarters. the egyptian president has signed into law a controversial new constitution after official confirmation should a clear majority for the document in a referendum. >> morsi is due to address parliament on saturday after appointing 90 members to the senate. >> critics say the new basic law is islamist and undemocratic. >> the opposition kept up its protest for weeks, but it was not enough. anchor fled on the streets of cairo after official results were announced. critics say the referendum was
marred by fraud. am i in my opinion, the revolution continues, and the constitution does not exist. a constitution has to be for everyone, not split the people of egypt. >> everybody knows the results are wrong. i will continue protesting peacefully until our demands are met. >> egypt's election commission says nearly 64% of voters approved the constitution in tibia will rounds of balloting, a clear majority, but the overall turnout was only about 33%. with the official results in, the constitution's islamists supporters are looking ahead. the muslim -- the muslim brotherhood's freedom and justice party says it is time to focus on the challenges ahead. >> this is a priority for us. in addition, we want to discuss
with other parties concerning what other laws are implemented in order to speed up economic reform. >> the president ordered the upper house of parliament to convene. elections for the lower house have to be held by the end of february. >> in russia, a bill banning american citizens from adopting russian children has won final approval from parliament there. >> president vladimir putin has already hinted he will sign it. angry citizens gathered in front of parliament to protest. they say children should not become victims of politics. the ban 1 unanimous support in the upper house of parliament. moscow sees the bill of -- as retaliation. all of us have been to london know and love the city's uniquely spacious yet somewhat old-fashioned black cabs.
they are as much a part of the british capital as the big ben on the tower bridge. >> no wonder then there was a huge outcry when back in october the company making those calves filed for bankruptcy. what's worse, the london taxi company had to recall a large number of the calves once renowned for their reliability. -- a large number of the tabs -- cabs once renowned for their reliability. >> not all the caps on the streets of the traditional black cabs and more. martin has driven a taxi in london for 18 years. he would rather not give his last name because he is not sure if he is willing to remain faithful to the london taxi company. >> i really don't know, to be honest. i've got mixed feelings. >> martin loves his job, and he likes driving around london, but he is aware that things have not been going well with the london
taxi company. he thinks the company must have bad management because it has been losing money for the last four years running. his own vehicle has not been as reliable as he could have hoped. at least once, it was recalled to the factory to correct a mechanical problem, and the london taxi company is again dealing with a large recall. a number of drivers suffered a loss of power steering, and lti had to recall 400 models. production of new cars had to be shut down and employees laid off until the steering boxes could all be replaced. >> we've now begun work to customer's back on the road to begin their work and their livelihood.
what's left is for us to work our way through the remaining vehicles. >> lti normally sells 2700 cars annually, but in recent years, it has been struggling in the domestic market. >> your chinese joint venture partner had put in considerable resources into the business, and, of course, they have been working very hard with us, but we are now talking to a range of other interested parties around the future of the business, and i am hopeful we will be able to see a conclusion to that early in the new year. >> along with massive losses in the past few years, lti has had to contend with a loss of confidence from taxi drivers. some are now buying from
competitors, who are now also allowed to produce london taxis. >> in the united states, another shooting incident has once again raised questions about the country's gun ownership laws. >> a former convict in new york state has killed two firemen, apparently loring the firefighters by starting a blaze. a body found at his home is believed to be that of his sister. >> police investigating the murder say the man was in possession of several weapons. >> the convicted felon is thought to have set his own home on fire on christmas eve. when firefighters responded, he allegedly shot them. police fired back. >> got to be a rifle or a shotgun, high-powered. >> two firefighters died, and two were seriously injured in the combat-style ambush. investigators found a typed
message. >> "i still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood i can burn down and do what i like doing best -- killing people." >> the shooting comes amid a renewed debate in the u.s. over gun ownership rights and just 10 days after a school shooting rampage in connecticut. as has happened after other recent shooting sprees, sales of assault-style rifles have seen a spike in gun shops since the massacre. many buyers seem to fear the weapons will be banned and want to get one legally before hand. >> ceremonies have been held in several asian countries to remember the victims of the tsunami that struck several years ago. hundreds of thousands of people were killed in one of the biggest natural disasters in recent history. >> a powerful earthquake unleashed deadly waves across the indian ocean.
thailand was one of the countries hit by the disaster. >> different faiths united in morning -- brutus, muslims, christians remembering those who died here in 2004. in thailand, the tsunami swept more than 5000 people to their deaths. many were tourists. along the coastline, people from dozens of countries parish. >> as we go farther away from the sorrow of what happened that day, we want to remember and let people know that the world can be one. >> the natural disaster struck with brutal force, leaving an equally staggering trail of destruction in its wake. a 9.15 magnitude earthquake set of the tsunami. the tsunami then spread across the entire indian ocean to strip
along, india, thailand, and several other countries. over 250,000 people died that day. 170,000 in indonesia alone. the bodies of many of those swept away still have not been recovered. loved ones cannot even visit their grave sites. many travel to thailand. a memorial wall pays tribute to those who died there. grieving together, mourners again remember those who passed away. >> we all remember where we were at the time. sports news now, and as the year draws to a close, the german football association has good reason to be satisfied -- all seven of the bundesliga teams in competition at the european level made it through the first round. >> german soccer fans have plenty of reason to smile as they head into the new year and look back on five decades of bundesliga football.
>> the bundesliga is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and it has never been stronger as a brand. all three german clubs in the champions league moved through, and all four german clubs are through in the eurobond lead, a first in german soccer. >> the bundesliga is going strong. i only hope germany can win this year. it has been a while, and that would really boost our image. >> the titles in the europa and spanish leagues have often gone to spanish and english clubs, but they have also a a high price. chelsea is financially dependent on a russian billionaire while other premier league clubs have racked up hundreds of millions of euros in debt. european soccer's governing body is planning to level the playing field with financial fair playlet regulations. last week, as he issued a one-
season than. most of the big stars and their cash in spain or england. >> in england, you already know the top for your clubs before the season starts, so full credit to hourly -- you already know the top four clubs. >> the league has been plagued by hooliganism, which has resulted in an empty stands. for years, the bundesliga has drawn the highest spectator numbers of any league in europe. combined with steadily rising television rights, they have made a solid foundation for german soccer. the only thing missing is that elusive european title. >> we hope they get it. if you are just joining us, you are watching the "journal" coming to you from dw in berlin.
>> welcome back. >> 2012 is coming to an end, and a lot of people in europe will be happy to see the old year out. not a day went by without worrying about the future of europe. >> not just for finance experts. a to was also a tough year for political leaders as they lurch from one crisis summit to another, spending -- spending long as wrangling over the best strategy to solve europe cozy financial crisis. >> as europe's biggest economy, germany naturally had a large say. >> as germany's leader, angela merkel naturally made sure her voice was heard. >> she's the most powerful woman in europe. all eyes were on chancellor and
to merkel -- chancellor angela merkel in 2012. the world is looking to germany to lead europe of the economic crisis. merkel discussed in germany's role at the world economic forum in january. >> what we do not want is a situation where we promise something we cannot do. if germany as a representative of europe promises something and market forces make it impossible to fulfil that promise, then europe is left vulnerable with an open flank. >> the chancellor has taken a cautious approach. her message -- do not ask germany to do too much. >> germany has mixed feelings. on the one side, a lot of people still have a problem seeing germany taking on a leadership role. that has a lot to do with historical concerns. on the other side, a lot of people would like to see germany take a leadership in europe, and
since germany is the only country that can provide leadership at the moment, some say merkel is doing too much. others say too little. >> international media coverage swings between respect and rejection of the country's role. whichever it is, the world's eyes are on merkel. >> germany is an anchor of stability for the bureau. that is why japanese correspondents cover the german economy and politics. merkel was a bit hesitant at the start of the year of crisis. she did not take the lead as much as obama and the u.s. had hoped, but she has gotten better. >> there is this a dominant role, and we do not have much of a say, even though since spring, our president, unlike his predecessor, sarkozy, has tried to stand up to the german chancellor more. >> president francois hollande, together with italy and spain, pushed back against germany's strict austerity plans for
europe. the amended year, there was a sense that germany might cut in its place, the southern european countries were going to build up a counterbalance, but that has not really been borne out. especially since hollande never followed through with his drive to renegotiate the fiscal pact. that did not happen. >> for germany, that meant sticking to the status quo. chancellor merkel met with the greek prime minister in october. she made it clear that austerity remains the number one priority, but her message is not popular with the greek people. >> i know that these reforms demand a lot from people in those countries that are especially hard hit by the crisis, but the efforts are not for nothing. they are worth it. the reforms are working. >> one has to admit that chancellor merkel is very successful in pushing through her own agenda, weather you like
it or not. she makes compromises, but at the end of the day, germany's positions are visible at the european level. >> it seems germany is taking the lead weather germans want to or not. -- whether germans want to or not. merkel is pointing the way out of the year of crisis with a steady hand. she has stuck to her goals in 2012 -- to save the euro and greece without compromising germany's financial stability. >> how alive is the concept of charity? we bring you an example from mexico. >> first, some of the stories making news. japan has a new prime minister, voted in by the lower house of parliament earlier today. his liberal democratic party won by a landslide in polls earlier this month. he has vowed to introduce aggressive monetary policies and says he wants to revise japan's pacifist constitution. >> china has launched the
world's longest high-speed rail route. the line between cities is almost 2,900 kilometers long. trains travel an average speed of 300 kilometers per hour, cutting travel time in half to just eight hours. >> floods in malaysia have forced more than 13,000 people to flee their homes. the floods have hit several states of the country's east coast. one woman died after slipping into a swollen river, and forecasters are expecting more rain to fall. >> china's leading producer of rare earth is attempting to shut down some plants in an attempt to stem falling prices. the group will keep some mines and factories closed until the end of january. >> rare earths are crucial in making a broad range of high- tech products. prices have been declining due to falling demand, and a growing number of companies are turning
to alternatives to cut costs. than helping those in need and providing assistance to the deprived our universal concepts around the world. >> we bring you an example from mexico where a catholic priest is helping people at his mission in the south of the country. it is a chance the station where impoverished migrants are trying to make their way to the united states. >> we bring you this special report on his exceptional work. >> they call this freight train la bestia -- the beast. much of its cargo is human. his father welcomes the passengers and lets them know that they can have something to eat at the shelter. many have fled violence and poverty and come from el salvador, guatemala, and honduras. their goal -- getting to the united states and finding work. first, though, they are searched
for weapons. he treats the migrants with respect and love and he expects the same from his staff as well. besides being a devout catholic, he also believes in being politically active. >> of course your belief in god also has political consequences. otherwise, this would just be giving them something to eat and that is it. but we also have to make fundamental changes. >> the microphotographs and registered. once you are in the archives, you can be tracked down. if you have a problem, you can call any time and get help. most just stay overnight. then they continue their journey on the next available train. some, however, stay a few days longer. that is mainly to get over their fear. >> it is terrible to have to hang on to a train like that. today, we traveled from 7:00 in the morning to 7:00 in the evening, and you are always thinking about falling.
it is horrible. >> three times a week, the trains come with their human cargo. they have traveled nearly 1,000 kilometers from the guatemalan border to get here, illegally and with no documentation. the shelter was established in 2007. since then, the supply trains have been part of life. to relax, he rests in his hammock. he does not even own a bed. then i i am happy if i am together with people the whole day. but i need this room for myself to think, to pray, and to prepare things. >> he meets politicians weekly to discuss protecting migrants. politics is just one part of
what he does. keeping the shelters running is the other. they depend on donations. chicken and eggs are on the menu every day. this farmer from honduras prepares the meals. he works for food, lodging, and some spending money. pedro also came by train and made it on his third attempt. >> twice it did not work out. the train was attacked by bandits. they beat me. they took our money and clothes -- everything. >> back at the shelter, they are serving chicken in a spicy sauce. up to 400 migrants a day get meals here. it is all financed by donations from as far away as even germany. the catholic church hierarchy in mexico has a hard time. he has become an international religious figure for the downtrodden. he is a rebel who left the order when he was a youth.
>> i rebel against some structures, but i obey the lessons of jesus, which the church itself also teaches, but sometimes the church does not hold true to those teachings. >> this is just another regular day at the shelter, waiting for the next freight train going north. so many hopes, so many dreams, such as this couple's. she is 15, a student from san salvador. he is 19 and wants to be a builder in the u.s. nellie is from guatemala. she has put three of her grown- up sons on the train with the hope they will be able to earn some money to send back to the rest of the family. and then there is irena. in a few days, she will give birth in the shelter. both she and her husband were
robbed on the way. >> it is not like the people who simply want to better themselves have what little they possess stolen from them -- it is not right. >> he wants to make sure people have some security and can report crimes to the police. in mexico, they now have the right to medical care. >> our politicians do not understand that we are in crisis mode here, and this demands unconventional solutions. >> only when that happens, he says, will la bestia become an ordinary freight train. >> that wraps up this edition of the "journal." captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--